Catalyst Wedding Co
Catalyst Wedding Co., is one of my absolute favorite queer resources. They were the first publication I found that portrayed diverse LBGTQ couples. Believe me when I say, their magazine spreads are gorgeous, their insta is pure hope, & their website is a treasure trove of queer love stories. Whenever I’m scrolling through my instagram and I stumble upon their account, I’m constantly reminded just how much representation matters. Naturally, I can’t wait to share their story with you. Jen, Catalyst, our team is obsessed with you!
Is “Happily Ever After” Really Accessible to All?
To say that all types of people fall in love and get married seems like a pretty obvious statement, but when you’re flipping through copies of wedding magazines at your local bookstore you’d think there is really only one type of person that can fall in love. Thin, white, hetero, cisgender couples dominate wedding media, but it’s seriously time for that “ideal” image of love and weddings to change.
At Catalyst Wedding Co., We’re Changing What Love and Weddings Look Like
When my co-founders and I founded Catalyst Wedding Co. back in 2014 marriage equality was still an uphill battle, and it was nearly impossible to find a queer couple in a print wedding magazine. There were also very few publications that were willing to admit that weddings were fraught with outdated patriarchal traditions and seriously problematic ideas about race, gender, and class.
The three of us found ourselves working in the wedding industry as event planners, designers, and photographers, but as feminists, we all felt like we didn’t belong. Even as three straight white hetero cis women, we constantly felt like outcasts because we didn’t believe that becoming a wife was worth giving up our identity and autonomy.
As our conversations with our friends and colleagues grew, we realized a bigger revolution was really needed in the wedding industry — we needed a wedding media platform that took an intersectional approach to love and weddings. We needed to address the gap in wedding media for all marginalized communities, and work to reclaim weddings and marriage as celebrations of love, not patriarchal structure meant to keep us in line.
Since our founding, we’ve published four print issues and thousands of articles on our site full of real love stories, diverse ideas of inspiration, and inclusive wedding advice. All of this has been done with one simple belief in mind: Love and happiness should be equally accessible to everyone.
If You Don’t See Yourself in Wedding Media, You Might Assume You’re Not Worthy of Love
Marriage is still the most socially accepted way to express your love for another person. The right to marriage is important, both for the protections the institution of marriage provides and because that marriage certificate means that society thinks your love has some greater value. Now in 2019, we might finally have legal marriage equality across the United States, but the wedding industry is still anything but equal.
In a society that still equates marriage and romantic love to happiness, what impact are we having if we keep certain people out of the conversation by refusing to showcase their love? Are we saying we don’t think those people deserve to be happy? What makes the wedding industry think it has the right to decide who gets to fall in love?
At Catalyst, we believe that all people are deserving of love and happiness. That’s why we have spent the last five years showcasing love stories that highlight couples of all sexualities, gender identities, races, ethnicities, cultures, religions, sizes, shapes, and abilities. It’s not enough to simply have the right to marry, we need to showcase and celebrate all love stories equally.
People Need to Feel Seen
Representation is important. We see the topic come up again and again, in Hollywood, in fashion, and in universities. People need to see themselves reflected in the world, through movies, television, books, websites, and magazines. We don’t see goals as achievable until we can see other people living those goals, and this absolutely applies to love and weddings.
If you asked someone on the street to describe a wedding, you’d most likely hear terms like “bride,” “groom,” “bridesmaids,” and “groomsmen.” They’ll probably describe a white dress, a diamond ring, a cake, and a church. While these elements might be present for many weddings, they are certainly not present for all. For two genderqueer folks getting married on a budget in their backyard, these terms can be pretty hard to escape, and hearing them again and again can make you feel out of place when planning your wedding day — a day that should fill you only with feelings of love and acceptance.
We need a wedding revolution. We need couples to feel in control of how they celebrate their love and how they tell their own love stories. We need wedding vendors who are not just accepting of LGBTQ+ couples, but who are affirming and actively celebrating queer love. We need wedding boutiques that carry outfits in all sizes and for all gender expressions. We need terms like “partner” and “spouse” to be more common than “bride” and “groom”. We need to remove the pressure to have the “best day of your life,” and instead focus weddings on joy and community. We need to keep working to make love and happiness accessible to all.
Jen Siomacco is the CEO and Editor-in-Chief of Catalyst Wedding Co., a wedding publication focused on bringing more diverse representation to the wedding industry and showcasing all people in love. Catalyst also works to connect couples with inclusive wedding vendors and to provide members of marginalized communities with a platform share their own views on weddings. Follow Catalyst on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest @catalystwedco.
So if you find yourself falling for Jen as well, check out her latest Tedx Talk. XO until next time lovelies.